tonight on "nightline" -- food fight. it's a rare condition that turns children into extremely picky eaters. so picky there's almost nothing they'll eat. >> how about some plain spaghetti? just pasta? >> no! >> we investigate the growing phenomenon of food neo phobia, the paralyzing fear of food. plus -- freedom when a man is sentenced to life for a murder he didn't commit, his sister goes on an extraordinary journey to free him. now, we interview her and hilary swank, the actress bringing this incredible true story to the big screen. >> we'll get you out, kenny! and the google box -- what can the new google tv do?
we have an exclusive report on the new technology that may change what people watch and how they watch it and this revolution will be televised. good evening. i'm cynthia mcfadden. we begin tonight with a rare condition doctors have diagnosed in some of the pickiest of eaters. children so choosy that no amount of coaxing will get them to venture behind a tiny selection of foods. this goes way beyond eat your carrots. in fact, the condition has a name, food neophobia. and its health risks have driven some parents to the drastic measure of enrolling kids in eating disorder clinics where the pie in the sky goal may be as simple as a slice of pizza. vicki mabrey has our report. >> i'll put a little bit of everything on your plate.
>> no. >> how about some plain spaghetti? >> no. >> just pasta. >> no. >> reporter: this is what dinner looks like at the graham house in kansas city. >> here is your plate. >> yummy, yummy. >> looks good, huh? >> reporter: the family dives in. but 7-year-old erin's plate is almost empty. >> you gonna do it? >> reporter: what eric, her father, wants her to do is eat one half of a cherry tomato but erin won't. she's not just a picky eater. she's an extremely picky eater. >> just one and that's it. we'll do it at the same time. >> no. >> reporter: in fact, erin suffers from what doctors call food neophobia, a virtual fear of food. that spaghetti she's offered and the cherry tomato, she can barely keep them down. >> get it down yet? >> reporter: it's a nightly
routine at the grahams. her entire food repertoire consists of about ten items. >> i know kid just love pizza, don't they? >> not me. >> what about chicken nuggets? >> no. hamburgers? >> no. >> hot dogs? >> no. >> all right, erin. >> reporter: at breakfast, we discover what erin will eat. >> erin, you want another piece? >> yes. >> reporter: breakfast foods like waffles and pancakes and french toast. >> i need more. >> reporter: lots of french toast. >> can you cut it? >> reporter: sometimes breakfast is the only meal she'll eat. she also likes some fruits, grilled american cheese sandwiches prepared a certain way, chips, fry, crackers and peanut butter. but only if it's creamy and only certain brands. >> cut up an apple and -- peanut butter. >> i know what you mean. >> reporter: no meat or vegetables, no pasta or salad.
she's even choosy about desserts. were you hard on her or have you always been understanding? >> oh, no, we've been plenty hard. we've been doing the wrong thing all along. i think that's why we recognized she's not going to get better. there's no amount of telling her you can't have that unless you eat five bites of that. what breaks your heart is she says, i don't want to be this way anymore. because she's hungry. >> reporter: aarerin is your average active kid. but this is affecting her health. she often has bad stomach aches. when did you first notice that erin didn't eat like other children? >> when i brought her home practically. >> reporter: from the hospital? >> uh-huh. >> reporter: she had acid reflux as a baby. every bite was painful. what did the doctors tell you? >> she'll outgrow it, she'll outgrow it. we've had the advice, you know, when she's hungry, she'll eat. just starve her. >> reporter: did you try to starve erin? >> i tried to say, this is
what's for dinner. people think i'm just special making a meal for her all the time and it's my fault. it's because i'm catering to her whim and if i would show her who was boss -- >> finish that. you know your stomach's been hurting. >> she would eat. and the fact of the matter is no, she won't. >> reporter: for some with food neophobia, new foods make them physically ill. for others, it simply tastes bad. with erin, it's both. that's why her parents and erin are at wit's end. they decide to take drastic measures. >> hello, i'm nancy. nice to meet you. >> reporter: by enrolling her at duke university in an intensive five-day program run by dr. nancy zucker. >> so it's not just a simple fix like, eat this, right, because you've tried that. >> right. >> we're not just talking about, i tonight like my broccoli and i'm not going to eat my peas and scrunching her nose at tomato juice. >> reporter: dr. zucker runs the
center for eating disorders at duke where they're just starting to study food feophobia. can you take me inside the mind of a picky eater? >> my best guess is, where we would look at a plate of food and say, i wonder what that tastes like, they would say, danger, danger. >> reporter: for those with the disorder, it disrupts their entire lives. >> every kid goes through food fads and phases, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches day after day after day, macaroni and cheese, and that's normal. a picky eater is one for whom that var ya billty doesn't shift. >> reporter: why did you want to come here? >> sometimes i'm hungry when we go out for dinner, there's nothing i like at that place. or when i'm at birthday parties, i don't have something to eat because they mostly serve pizza. >> the fact she recognizes that it's not normal and she wants to get better is really a big reason why we're here. >> reporter: the first few days focus on the psychology behind
erin's eating. testing her anxiety levels. they also evaluate her sense of smell and count her taste buds to see if she's hypersensitive. how do you lead them from eating five foods to eating a range of foods? >> when kids are not eating properly, it's terrifying for parents. and so what ends up happening inevitably is meals become stressful. >> 1, 2, 3. >> all the work with erin has been kind of retraining her experience with food, giving her tools to relax her body and relax her mind and not let her thoughts get in the way of what she does. >> reporter: erin has a goal for the week. she wants to eat pizza, a staple at killed's birthday parties. >> so if we're eating pizza by friday, we done good. >> reporter: what's in your fridge? >> horror story. >> reporter: the goal is to avoid being like these people. well into their 50s and 60s, picky eaters like bob and marla are still eating like
4-year-olds. >> you have toll house? you love these? i love these. i eat them right out of the thing. >> my intelligent side of the brain will tell me it's food. i know people eat it. but the side of my brain that's going to accept me eating something that i really don't have a control over will say, you can't eat that. or like spaghetti might look like a plateful of worms to me. >> reporter: in 2003, bob founded a web forum called picky eating adults.com. it now has 7,000 members. many of whose food preferences are almost identical to erin's. what do you eat in a typical day? >> for lunch, i might eat a pack of lance peanut butter and crackers or bag of potato chips and glass of milk. >> reporter: for picky eaters like them, the grocery store is a house of horrors. and when marla tries to convince bob to try something new that she likes --
>> okay. >> reporter: back at duke, erin is midway through her week at food rehab and things are intensifying. a girl who never mixes food is asked to dry different combinations. she's also asked to experiment with some different tastes like pizza sauce. >> put it on the salty part of your tongue, like that. on the side. very good. >> reporter: and then her first breakthrough. turkey bacon. >> here's the hard part. use your big teeth. and break a little piece off and chew it. just a little piece. oh, look at that. she's chewing bacon. >> reporter: what seems like nothing to most people is huge for a girl whose never eaten meat. >> that went better than i would have expected by far. >> reporter: the grahams also learn something disturbing. erin is almost always hungry. >> no, she's not starving but she's on the edge of being hungry all the time and that sets up a certain mind set in people of always worrying about the next meal, which i definitely think that's where she is.
>> reporter: erin begins to alter some of her eating habits. the doctor challenges erin to describe it visually. she's encourage to play with her food. and the whole family is sent to a drumming and dance class to teach them to relax. >> we're looking for three food -- >> reporter: at week's end, it's time for a trip to the local whole foods grocery store. dr. zucker makes shopping a game, picking out hard foods in addition to easy ones. they're working up to erin's goal, that slice of pizza. >> can you describe it? >> it's a triangle. >> oh, nice. >> reporter: remember, the only cheese she's eaten up to now is processed american cheese. the pizza proves to be just a step too far. but it's only been five days of treatment. they've got a lifetime to go and a lot of foods to try. this is vicki mabrey for "nightline" in durham, north
carolina. >> situation is tough for the whole family. when we come back, hilary swank and the real-life heroine she portrays in her new movie. on our car insurance. great! at progressive, you can compare rates side by side, so you get the same coverage, often for less. wow! that is huge! [ disco playing ] and this is to remind you that you could save hundreds! yeah, that'll certainly stick with me. we'll take it. go, big money! i mean, go. it's your break, honey. same coverage, more savings. now, that's progressive. call or click today. you can take the heat. 'til it turns into heartburn, you've got what it takes: zantac. it's strong, fast lasting relief. so let them turn up the heat. you can stop that heartburn cold: (sssssssss!!!)
innocence led to an 18-year fight and finally his freedom. now, their story is headed for the big screen with hilary swank as star. tonight, david wright interviews the actress and the real-life heroine she plays. >> i sacrificed my whole life. >> reporter: "conviction" is the unshakable belief in something without the need for proof or evidence. >> it's time for you to start living your life. >> this is my life. >> reporter: conviction is also what happened when a court of law finds a defendant guilty. >> we'll get you out, kenny, you hear me? >> reporter: the new movie "conviction" starring hilary swank is about both. >> and then his conviction, yeah. >> reporter: if not for one, then the other would still be in force. >> yes, exactly. >> reporter: the true-life story of betty ann waters who refused to believe her brother was guilty of a brutal murder committed in ayer, massachusetts, in 1980. >> did you ever doubt your brother's innocence?
>> never. >> reporter: not for a minute? >> never. >> reporter: practically everyone else did. in 1983, a jury sentenced hip to life in prison. he always maintained his innocence. >> i'd never kill anybody. >> reporter: you put yourself through college and law school? >> yes. >> reporter: all in the hopes of exonerating your brother? >> yes. >> reporter: an 18-year ordeal -- >> i'll apply to law school but it's going to take a long time, kenny, a really long time. >> reporter: condensed for the silver screen. >> in the movie, they have it as my idea. it wasn't my idea. it was kenny's idea. >> reporter: you think he really expected you'd get him off? >> i really do. >> reporter: or was he doing it for you maybe? to give you something else to work for? >> no, he wanted his freedom. >> reporter: this movie is the reason why i'm an actor. these type, of stories are what inspire me and move me and give me hope. >> reporter: betty ann waters was for years the only person who believed in kenny's innocence. she convinced everyone else with dna evidence, swabs of blood from the crime scene.
>> betty ann waters found the evidence. >> reporter: she also found help from attorney barry scheck of the innocence project. did you think she would find the evidence? >> i mean, who knew? they told her many times that it was lost or destroyed. >> my manager sent me this movie, the screenplay, when i was on training for "million dollar baby," so that was about six years ago now. >> reporter: wow. >> i know, i can't believe that much time's gone by. yeah, that's when i first read it. i absolutely fell in love with it. in so many ways, she's my real-life hero. >> reporter: unlike some of the other powerful roles that have won hilary swank recognition, in this story, the character she was playing was flesh and blood, right there on the set. >> she said it was really cathartic to be on set, to be re-living it was cathartic for her. >> reporter: i bet. >> you know, she had her chair and i sat in her chair and i was la looking for some water or something and there was just piles and piles upon kleenex.
>> what's going on? >> i'm picking you up. >> picking me up? i love you. look at my sis. isn't she beautiful? >> what a blessing for me as an actor to meet the person that i'm playing. >> reporter: is it a blessing? >> it is a blessing. didn't want to meet her right away because i didn't want to just be minuticing somebody. i mean, as actors, we do a lot of imitations of people and it's something we joke around and do. >> reporter: i mean that in the nicest way, no offense to betty ann, but there's got to be a lot of pressure. >> whether you meet her or not, there's a lot of pressure. >> reporter: although years have passed, for betty ann waters, it's all still very fresh. we showed her a "prime time live" piece from 2001, the year kenny was finally released. she couldn't hold back the tears. >> oh, my god. >> reporter: brings it all back i bet. >> yeah. especially to see kenny. >> reporter: and that of course wasn't the end of the story, was it? >> no. nope.
no. it wasn't. >> reporter: in real life, the hollywood ending was undercut by a tragic accident. kenny waters died six months after his sister won his release. >> he only had six months of freedom before he had an accident and fell and hit his head and he died of a brain injury. but, you know, kenny died free. he didn't die in prison. >> reporter: that part of the story is left out of the movie. >> i think at the heart of the story, it's hopeful. you know? this is a story about hope. you feel good when you see these people who have so much love for each other that there's nothing that they wouldn't do to help each other or be there for one another. >> reporter: even though he didn't live to see it, betty ann says her brother always knew this would end up as a movie. who did he want to play him? >> at that time, he named different people. like matt damon, brad pitt. >> reporter: tomorrow, 27 years after he went to prison, 9 years
after she proved his innocence, is the l.a. premiere. >> he's here in spirit. i feel like he is. >> reporter: betty ann will be wishing her brother were here to share it. i'm david wright for "nightline" in los angeles. >> what a story. a sister's love. "convictions" in theaters october 15th all over the country. up next, it could be the future of entertainment. we have an exclusive look at the new google tv. zçzçzçzçzçzçzçzçzçzçzçzçzçzçzçzç ♪ [ male announcer ] little owen wanted to play but his nose was raw and sore. achoo! [ male announcer ] and common tissue made it burn even more. ♪ new puffs plus lotion is more soothing than common tissue. and it delivers twice the moisturizers to your nose versus the next leading lotion tissue. a nose in need deserves puffs plus lotion indeed. when you prefer a lotion-free tissue, try puffs ultra soft & strong.
about to get an extreme makeover. at least if google has its way. tonight, we have the first exclusive look at a product the massive technology company is predicting will change the way the world surfs the web, goes to the movies and, yes, watches television. neal karlinsky has "a sign of the times." >> reporter: inside a lab in the heart of silicon valley, the television as we know it is being reinvented. they call it google tv. and our cameras are the first to ever see it, even as feverish programmers try to get it done in time to hit store shelves this fall. when google's man in charge, richi tandra introduced it to the world earlier this year -- >> i'm very happy to introduce google tv.
>> reporter: -- his presentation included little more than a cartoon. [ laughs ] today, he has a couch complete with lava lamps inside the top secret lab and a device he believes will be the beginning of the end between any difference at all with cable, the computer and broadcast television. >> take all that content you watch today on television, add all that other content you get on the web, that you just normally can't get on your tv. >> reporter: the device makes no distinct between surfing television channels and surfing the web. instead of flipping channels, users type in the show or even just the idea they're interested in. >> you see here is a search box which allows you to take you anywhere you want to go, on tv, on dvr or the web. i can fire up a twitter app or other social application. tv is a social ex-experience. >> reporter: that is central to their goal, making tv the center of entertainment again. when television was born, it was the keystone of every living
room. a place for families to gather and spend hours side by side. fast forward to today, a time when teens watch videos alone on their laptops and anyone with a smart phone can watch movies while walking down the street. you actually think while mobile has been huge that the living room and the television will be bigger. >> i really do. because if you look at the data, users spend an average american household five hours a day in front of the television. >> reporter: the device will come in a box that can be attached to an existing tv or as an all-in one television made by sony, a company betting big on a retch lucian in television and about to flood the air waves with ads like this. >> sony internet tv, the world's first hd tv powered by google tv. >> reporter: and you think it will become standard that televisions are produced to work with the internet? >> i think it's inevitable. the world of tv, technology, pc, they're all converging right now. >> reporter: how big a deal is this for google? >> it's a big deal.
we do believe that this is the transformation, the similar transformation with the phone, with the introduction of the smart phone, is going to happen to the tv with the introduction of the smart tv. >> reporter: if their version of the future catches on, the living room is about to get an extreme makeover. as tv shows, movies, music and apps, games, even social networking sites all migrate to the television. and with remote control apps that allow you to do it all from your phone, you won't even have to lift a finger anymore to enjoy it. abc world news with diane sawyer. >> reporter: i'm neal karlinsky for "nightline" in mountain view, california. >> a revolution for the couch potato. when we come back, new abc political poll numbers. that's the subject of tonight's "closing argument." first, here's jimmy. >> tonight, dr. phil mcgraw, from "castle," nathan fillion, music from trace adkins and its mexico's 200th birthday. [ male announcer ] sacramento and silicon valley
are only one hundred thirty miles apart. they may as well be on different planets. sacramento, mismanaged, ineffective. silicon valley gave us apple, intel, ebay. here meg whitman started with 30 people. led them. managed them. executed the plan that grew this main street company to fifteen thousand employees and made small business dreams come true. to change california let's send meg whitman up the road... about a hundred and thirty miles.